Canva has proven to be the reliable, well-known, go-to graphics tool of the online entrepreneur world. It is more highly-recommended than any other design tool as a free option to edit and create graphics for social media and blogging, as well as somehow being used to create entire brands.
While Canva has proven to be useful and reliable for many beginning bloggers and other online entrepreneurs, I have found some holes in its seeming infallible reputation, and wanted to expand the horizons for users to other options, or even provide some great tools to partner with Canva to make it even better.
The main benefit I hear being boasted on by Canva users is its ability to create freebies for their email opt-ins or resource libraries. Canva has the ability to create PDF docs, and has layout options for all kinds of projects.
What Else is There, Besides Canva?
A great alternative if you are looking to create an opt-in, freebie, or other resource is Google Slides. You might not have even known that Google had a FREE program to create things like PDF’s. On eof the great things about this tool is you probably already have a Google account, and that is all you need to use the free presentation creator. Use Slides to create slideshows that can be downloaded and saved as a PowerPoint file, .txt., PDF for web and print, SVG, a vector format, (which Canva does not offer) and JPEG and .PNG. You can save them as Powerpoint, and send them to someone who only uses PowerPoint, and they will assume you created it using Microsoft.
What, a Free Slideshow Creator?
Yes, you can uses Google Slides to create a slideshow, with music and links, and other cool features, to show a presentation, OR you can save the slideshow as a PDF and then create something like a book! You can literally write an e-book with Google Slides! It is very easy to use, and you can even add clickable links in your PDF, just like Canva.
Look at my Sample E-book, which took me 5 minutes to create from scratch.
•You may add collaborators to do a project with a team, as many as you want, for free, which with Canva, is a limited feature., and to add more, is a paid feature.
•Canva has available for free, over 100 fonts. Google slides has over 800 free fonts.
The pre-made and customizable templates Canva offers are beautiful, well-made and plentiful. You can use Google Slides pre-made themes, which are simple at best, or you can download beautiful pre-made templates for free from many designers.
To install a new template, open a new Slide presentation, got to “Slide”—-> “Change Theme” and Themes will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. From there, at the bottom of the theme options is a button that says “Import Theme” which you will click and upload your new theme!
Photos and Other Design Elements
Canva has an array of free stock photos to use in your designs. They outsource their images to get a variety of good quality images, and a lot of their resources offer commercial-use licensing, which means you can use them to create a product to sell for money that goes to you. However, Canva also uses photos from other places, and their licensing agreements may be different. Basically Canva says you need to make sure each image you use can be used commercially, on your own. I recommend using known commercial imaging, or better yet, your own photography for any products you intend to sell.
Google Slides has a few options for stock photos, one being a literal Google search bar option that searches only free for commercial use and modification images from all over the google-webs, a LIFE images option, which I have yet to see any results from searching what I was looking for, and an option title Stock, which has an immediate disclaimer saying “Results shown are available for personal or commercial use only in Google Drive, and may not be independently sold or redistributed.”
Use images that you KNOW are ok to use in a product you intend to sell. Be cool, don’t use illegal images, don’t be a skeez and try to get away with using stuff that isn’t yours. Lame.
Be a winner, and use images that are ok to use in a saleable product from these amazing options I found for you!
The options listed here I have checked for commercial use licensing, all images on all of these sites can be used in a product you want to sell, just do not sell the images as yours.
I have also created a resource list of other high-quality free, and have zero attribution required, meaning you can use them in a product you intend to sell, and do not have to let anyone know where the photos are from.
So, as a comparison between Canva and Google Slides, if you are looking for certain options, Canva can get you by, but I prefer Google Slides for functionality, user-interface, simplicity and familiarity.
If you use Canva to edit photos might I be so bold as to suggest better free alternatives. Or anything else, literally.
Great FREE photo editing software with a ton of tools and features, including the ability to upload RAW files for you DSLR photographers out there *fist bump*
But you probably aren’t using Canva to edit photos, so let’s get back to the point here.
A lot of people are using Canva to create their logos for their blog or business…
I’ve never seen a logo being created in Canva, so I’m unsure how people might be doing it, but the font-based logo is making a comeback in blogging and online entrepreneurship, and Canva is the best tool if you just want letter and some haphazard shapes in your logo. There has been some misunderstandings between Canva nay-sayers and DIY’ers who use it regarding the legality of creating a logo in Canva. Well, I know it’s tough news, but you actually can.
I promise you, there are better options!
Canva has basic shapes that you can use to make a logo, there are no tools to do any free-form design or graphics, or a pen tool, and you can not create vector graphics in Canva. This is the biggest misunderstanding I have seen, and while it is one of the most important parts of creating a great logo, it is definitely the least known among DIY’ers.
What is a Vector and Why Do You Need It?
A vector image is simply a format that allows you to scale your image to whatever size you need without losing ANY quality whatsoever. It is not made using pixels, but instead use mathematically-defined paths and have no limits in scale-ability. You can literally make your logo or brochure or banner or whatever you make in vector format as big as the moon, and it will not blur or pixelate.
Vector file formats are .SVG and .AI as well as .EPS. They are not .PNG or .JPEG, which you may already be familiar with. If you try to enlarge a .JPEG or .PNG they will eventually pixelate and become blurry and look gross. Having your logo in .SVG or .AI format keeps it looking professional, crisp, clear, and you can use the file as many times as you want and edit it as you need to without losing any quality, which you can not do with .JPEG and are limited with .PNG by itself.
What Free Program Can You Create Vector Logos In?
Take Yourself Seriously, and Others Will Too
There is no excuse not to have a great logo.
Allow me to level with you here. No graphics tool or software that is worth a hoot is going to be drag & drop simple, and you will not learn a new program in an hour. A logo is hopefully going to identify your business to the world, and you don’t want some cheap-looking, lifeless, meaningless shape. If you are trying to save money and DO IT YOURSELF, take the time to learn how to do it right, it will pay off, and it IS worth it. A great brand takes time to build and grow and flourish and it will even evolve, you want a logo you can be proud of.
Get on the professional level, respect your work and your business and get a real logo, one that you have more tools to create and more options to personalize. I would use Inkscape to do this if I didn’t already use Adobe Illustrator for logos.
Start with a sketch, on real tree paper, with a real graphite pencil and your imagination, and an idea of what you want your logo to do for your brand. Sketch that mess out and start the process, then get it up on a screen to play around with. Don’t even get in there with any colors yet, just get this logo done without distractions of an entire other world of design.
Business, Blog, and Social Media Graphics
A few other options for creating graphics for things like blog posts, ads, Pins, social media images and banners or cover photos are as follows:
Canva is a seriously great tool, and so many people have found success online and otherwise with its help. Easy to use, free, and collaborative. I will give Canva its due and tip my designer hat to it, but let’s not allow it to take over the world, amirite?
In conclusion, if you want great graphics for your blog or biz, there is more than Canva. There is a whole world of beautiful creations to be had from your spirit that Canva can’t reach. Use your brain tool, and spirit tool, and these totally rad free tools I just wrote about for you and get to work!
Get the Happix Hookup, and enjoy all of the free resources, such as free stock photos, patterns, and other resources for DIY designing in the Resource Library!